The following metrics are sourced from truck driver recruiting campaigns managed by Randall Reilly. Recent trends are detailed below to review driver employment activity.
In the past 12 months, the network of unique driver recruiting landing pages maintained by Randall Reilly has been visited by over 6.59 million users. 5.72 million users visited using a mobile device, 763k visited using a computer, and 122k visited using a tablet.
For Driver Recruiting campaigns managed by Randall Reilly, in the past 12 months:
The uncertainty in the freight market continues to benefit the carriers looking to expand at this time.
The high conversion rates combined with lower click costs continue to keep lead costs at levels not seen since the pandemic-disrupted months in 2020.
While lead costs are lower, the lead-to-hire ratio for company driver campaigns continues to be elevated above previous years’ levels. This is likely the result of fleets having fewer open driver positions and being able to be more selective in whom they hire.
Conversely, it remains a good time to partner with owner-operators due to the decrease in spot market freight and rates.
Click costs (CPC) ticked upwards in November and are now holding quite steady through the first half of December. Search and Facebook click costs continue to remain lower than they have been in the past few years, and Display costs have also dropped below year-over-year comparisons for the first time since January 2021.
Recent months’ overall average cost per lead (CPL) has remained stable at a level not seen consistently since the autumn of 2020. Through the first half of December, the overall average CPL is on pace to be lower, but the digital marketing team is shifting some budgets to increase lead generation during the part of the month that has historically had lower lead costs (the first half of the month and the last few days leading up to New Year’s). As a result, expect December’s CPL to increase more than usual in the back half of the month and end up being equal to or a bit lower than recent months’ lead costs. Student campaigns’ December CPL is on pace to be at its lowest on record, but the campaign mix has changed. So, comparing this month’s performance to previous months’ performance is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Hire costs rose in November for both company driver and owner-operators campaigns.
The average company driver cost per hire (CPH) continues to rise due to increases in the lead-to-hire ratio (LTH). The elevated LTH numbers show that recruiting departments are converting a smaller percentage of leads to hires than they have in the past few autumns/winters. The most likely reason for the increase in LTH is caused by carriers having fewer open positions for the same number of leads. As a result, they can be more selective in whom they hire. October was a historically good month to partner with owner-operators. And while November’s CPH and LTH numbers rose for those campaigns, it remains a good time for carriers to partner with owner-operators because OOs are looking to minimize their risk in the current freight market with lower rates, less freight on the spot market, and higher operating costs.
The number of users coming to recruiting landing pages is increasing in December, and these users are converting at a higher rate than ever. The increase in users combined with the lower number of multicarrier applicants suggests that drivers have high search intent but are being more selective of whom they are applying to.
In November, there were over 170,000 fewer truck driver job postings than there were in August (-39% over three months). The large drop in the number of jobs posted has caused the number of seekers per job to spike to its highest level since January 2020.
Comparing November 2022 to November 2019 (for a pre-pandemic comparison), this past month there were 65% more people searching for driving jobs (+871,000), while there were 46% more jobs available (+85,000) for these searchers.
FTR continues to report that high costs and weak rates are taking their toll, resulting in trucking conditions in October that were the lowest for carriers since April 2020. Their Trucking Conditions Index has now had a negative reading for the past six months. While FTR forecasts near-term conditions will not likely be as negative as they were in October, they expect conditions to remain negative through the forecast horizon.1
FTR expects truckload rates in 2022 to decrease by 1.1% YoY excluding fuel. Spot rates are expected to fall 15.1% YoY, while the forecast for contract rates is +7.6% YoY. FTR’s forecast for truckload rates in 2023 is a drop of 9.1%, as spot rates are expected to decrease by 14.4% while contract rates are predicted to drop by 6.5%.
In contrast, FTR expects LTL rates in 2022 to increase 14.9% YoY, up from +13.8% in their prior forecast. Their forecast for 2023 is a decrease of 3.0%, up from -4.8%.
A broadly weaker forecast for most major commodity groups is causing FTR to give weaker estimates and forecasts for 2022 and 2023 truck loadings. They forecast total truck loadings to increase 2.2% YoY in 2022, down from +2.5% YoY in the prior forecast. For 2023, they expect a 0.1% decrease in loadings, down from +0.9% in their previous forecast.
FTR’s forecast for active truck utilization is sharply lower due to a combination of weaker freight volume and higher driver capacity. Utilization looks to bottom out below 89% in Q3 2023, but sharper-than-expected declines in driver capacity could cause utilization to be higher in the longer run.
Truck production decreased by 8% in October after two months of very strong output. Net truck orders in October totaled just under 40,000 units, down 21% from September’s record, but up 88% YoY. The estimated average time from order to delivery rose to 8.5 months.
 Market information is taken from: FTR. “Trucking Update: December 2022.” 30 Nov 2022, FTR.